A DARWEN student who was fostered by his grandparents at the aged of 11 has used his childhood memories to design an inspiring book cover.

An illustration by Toby Hargreaves, 19, has been used as the cover of ‘James Dixon’s Children: The Story of Blackburn Orphanage’, proceeds from which will go to Child Action North West.

Mr Hargreaves, of Cavendish Street, is a foundation art and design student at Blackburn College.

The book has been written by author Melanie Warren, in collaboration with the charity, to celebrate the life and achievements of James Dixon, who founded the orphanage in 1886.

The project, which was turned into a competition between Toby and four other Blackburn College students, allowed them to visit the archive room at the orphanage for inspiration, where they viewed old documents belonging to James, his diary and personal photos.

The final book cover ideas were then pitched to Melanie and a judging panel.

Toby, who designed a three-dimensional model of butterflies flying out of the orphanage building, said: “I know how the fostering process works and how it can sometimes make you feel trapped by your past.

“I have learned to not let things get me down, and like the orphans, I have grown up, moved on and made a life for myself.

“The butterflies represent the freedom both myself and the orphans have shared.”

Toby hopes to study art and design at Camberwell College of Arts.

Joanne Conlon, media lecturer at Blackburn College, said: “This was a project very close to Toby’s heart and he did a fantastic job of encapsulating his personal feelings, which are shared by many others in his position.

“All the students involved stepped up to the mark and produced some great work for such a worthy project.”